Guidelines For Long-Term Fuel Storage of Diesel in Tanks

Jun 22, 2022 | Fuel

When fuel prices skyrocketed and showed no signs of coming down in the long run, fleets and fuel-using institutions (such as city governments) were compelled to re-evaluate their tactics for protecting their budgets through fuel usage. Fuel plans that used to revolve around using up fuel in a matter of days or weeks were replaced by groups purchasing greater amounts of fuel while the price was low. As a result, the issue of long-term fuel storage arises, with safe and cost-effective storage a priority. Viking Industrial offers Fuel storage tanks Australia ranging in size from 500L to 100,000L and are designed to fit a variety of applications. Internal baffles, pumps, hose kits, and vehicle refuelling systems are available options.

These solutions are centred on resolving chemical instability, preventing microbiological activity in the fuel, and guaranteeing regulatory compliance.

How long can diesel fuel be stored?

If you ask several people this question, you will almost certainly get different replies. This is because any fuel’s storage life is influenced by the environment. Given what they do, the military has a natural interest in fuel storage, therefore they’ve studied the storage life of fuels extensively throughout the years. The most important thing is to keep the fuel cool and dry. Diesel fuel can be stored for six to twelve months in optimal conditions. Even under ideal conditions, fuel stabilisers and biocides are required to extend the life beyond twelve months. If the gasoline can’t be kept cool, below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, for at least a year, twelve months is the best estimate for storage. It’s important to note that this only applies to diesel fuel, not ethanol or biodiesel mixtures.

Long-Term Fuel Storage of Diesel

Regulations regarding storage tanks

The most significant benefit that well-maintained storage tanks provide over time is the prevention of fuel contamination by water. Tank structural integrity is obviously vital, especially for above-ground tanks with top holes that can enable rainwater to pollute the fuel if they deteriorate over time.

Experts advise that if you gradually reduce the amount of space left in the tank, this space will affect how much water from condensation builds in the gasoline. The minimum amount of space required is determined by the tank layout and the amount of fuel in the tank (because of expansion).

Depending on whether your fuel storage is above ground or underground, different requirements apply. If more than 10% of the tank is below ground, it is technically classified as underground. Varied states have different standards for the precautions a facility must take to prevent leaks and spills while also dealing with corrosion issues that may arise over time. There are also federal restrictions in existence that are administered and enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As a result, a facility that wants to save money by storing fuel must consider the expenses of complying with these regulations in order to determine the overall return on investment.

Controlling the stability of stored diesel

If these other procedures are performed, biocides and diesel fuel stability treatments will prevent most fuel storage difficulties. A biocide will kill active diesel fuel bacteria in storage tanks, while stability treatments will keep the fuel from breaking down due to chemical reactions with external influences.

Because the removal of sulphur from ULSD renders the fuel much more susceptible to microbial activity than it used to be, biocides have become indispensable instruments in diesel fuel storage. So, while it’s critical to manage the water accumulation that comes with fuel storage, even if you do so meticulously, there’s a higher risk of a microbiological problem developing, in part because not everyone in the distribution chain is watching things as closely as you are.

Keep in mind that the existence of ‘biofilm’ or biological mass created by organisms, can impact the speed with which a biocide kills bacteria in fuel. In instances like this, unless the biofilm is broken down and the bacteria can be penetrated by the biocide, a storage system can be reinfected following treatment. The tank would have to be mechanically cleaned in cases of extreme biofilm accumulation.

In stored fuels, stability treatments target oxidation and acid-base processes. When fuel is exposed to oxygen, it oxidises, as you might expect. The oxygen reacts with the fuel’s pre-existing ‘reactive components’. This kicks off a chain reaction that transforms the fuel’s healthy stable molecules into unstable reactive molecules, causing the fuel to darken and stratify. Antioxidants work by halting chain reactions at the start, preventing them from continuing further down the line. Fuel stabilisers work in a similar way to stop dangerous acid-base reactions by reacting with acidic precursors in the fuel and preventing them from reacting with other fuel agents. This is especially essential when the fuel has been exposed to certain metals, such as copper and iron, which catalyse or exacerbate these hazardous reactions. These reactions can be sped up with just a small amount of dissolved metal. To mitigate this problem, employ an antioxidant stabiliser with a metal deactivator.

Talk to us about your fuel storage needs

Viking Industrial has a huge selection of high-quality fuel storage tanks in a variety of sizes and types. Contact our staff to discuss the best fuel tanks for your needs.